Growing up on Clearlake, Hope Forti saw the power of community to help people get through the struggles of life. Cancer, postpartum, wildfires: Lake County people know how to show up for each other. When she became a foster mom in 2015, she saw the heightened need for small acts of support to help families persevere through the challenges of mental illness and traumatic childhoods.
Hope founded The Neighbors Program in 2018, and brought it to Lake County through a partnership with Lake County Department of Social Services. You can hear the full story on Michelle Scully’s Gathering podcast here.
The vision is simple: Matching families who feel isolated with volunteer “Neighbors” who show up to say “You’re not alone.” Delivering meals, groceries, or care packages to one specific family for six months, Neighbors build a friendship through encouraging visits and phone calls. Neighbors often match with foster and adoptive families, and others struggling with mental health needs amid the pressures of raising kids.
In only two or three hours a month, Neighbors can use their unique interests (cooking, nature, literature, crafts, or anything else) to build a relationship of support for families who need it most.
On Saturday, May 14th, Lake County residents will have several opportunities to support kids who need it most.
- Now through May 12th: Drop off fun summer gifts, books, and toys, or volunteer to help with games and crafts at our foster family appreciation party on May 14th! Sign up at tinyurl.com/fostersaturday for more details.
- Walk and Learn: Saturday, May 14th, 1:00 PM at the Blue Zones Event at Austin Park, Clearlake: Our Neighbors team will spend all afternoon at the Blue Zones event in Clearlake. Grab some free, delicious food, and walk with us for 30 minutes of casual chatting about the simplest way to support foster families.
- “What Are Neighbors All About?” Saturday, May 14th, 2:00 PM at the Blue Zones Event at Austin Park, Clearlake: Learn the history and current needs of Lake County’s most precious treasure: our kids in foster care! (Meet in the Neighbors Tent at the Blue Zones event.)
- Volunteer Neighbor Training, Saturday May 14th, 3:15-3:45 PM: Learn how to be a Neighbor, where we match you with a family, and you deliver one meal a month as you build a natural friendship. (Meeting in the garden at Austin Park. Please register here so we can contact you ahead of time.)
You can find out more about The Neighbors Program and sign up for your choice of the Foster Saturday events at www.tinyurl.com/fostersaturday